September 12, 2003 -- If you've ever thought of going to Europe, now would be a pretty good time. Fares for this fall have now descended to ridiculously low rates, with one airline charging a mere $200 for September trips to London.
Very Low Fall Fares
Many airlines are having fall fare sales right now. But Icelandair's fares take the cake. If you sign up for their "Lucky Fares" club on their Web site, you can get $200 roundtrips from New York's JFK Airport to London, with a free stopover in Iceland of up to a week. This fare is good for departures from the US before Sept. 30, and you have to buy it by Sept. 16 at www.icelandair.com. There's a Saturday night stay required, and you must complete your trip in 30 days. Even with the usual $100 in taxes, this is an insanely low September fare.
Icelandair's other Lucky Fares (all roundtrip, mind you) are pretty seductive, too:
- From New York: Glasgow $248; Reykjavik, Frankfurt $298; Amsterdam, Paris $348; Stockholm, Copenhagen, Oslo $378
- From Baltimore: London, Glasgow $286; Reykjavik, Frankfurt $298; Amsterdam, Paris $348; Stockholm, Copenhagen, Oslo $378
- From Boston: Frankfurt $248; London, Glasgow $286; Reykjavik $298; Amsterdam, Paris $348; Stockholm, Copenhagen, Oslo $378
- From Minneapolis: Reykjavik $348; London $378; Frankfurt, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Oslo $398; Glasgow $442; Amsterdam, Paris $448
Yes, in many cases, flights to London or Glasgow with weeklong stops in Reykjavik are cheaper than just plain flights to Reykjavik. So if you want to spend a week in Iceland, you can tack on a day or two in the UK and save money. Airfares certainly are weird.
Discounter Fly Europe is also in the fall-fares game, with a good set of roundtrip choices for flights through October 31. Tickets to London are $259 from New York and Boston and $369 from LA and San Francisco. Flights to Paris are $289 from New York and Boston, $379 from LA and SF. They offer pretty good fares from many other US cities, as well. Buy your tickets by September 30 by calling 800/359-3876 or online at 1800flyeurope.com.
If those fares don't grab you, American continues to have very low fall and spring fares to the UK, and United has extended their fare sale to Europe. These fares, in fact, have come down since we last reported on them a week ago. Fabulous fares include:
- New York-London: $216 (American and United)
- Boston-London: $297 (American)
- Chicago-London: $337 (American)
- Boston-Munich: $338 (United)
- San Francisco-London: $373 (American)
- Phoenix-London: $398 (United)
- Dallas-London: $399 (American; down from $423 last week!)
To get American's low fares, buy by Sept. 23 for outbound travel through Oct. 29, Dec. 18-23, and April 5-June 15, 2004. A 7-day advance purchase and Saturday night stay are required, there's a two-month maximum stay, and the lowest fares will probably only be available for Monday-Thursday flights. Go to AA's online booking engine by clicking here.
To get United's fares, tickets must be purchased by Sept. 15 for outbound travel by Oct. 31 and returns by Nov. 28. A seven-day advance purchase and Saturday night stay are required, and the lowest fares will probably only be available for Monday-Thursday flights. Go get 'em at www.ual.com/page/article/0,1360,50076,00.html.
We expect intense competition between airlines based on these fares, so make sure to double-check them on a travel agency site like Orbitz, Travelocity or Expedia.
Virgin's Absurd Winter Fare
Okay, $200 not low enough for you? How about $186? For November flights, nothing beats Virgin Atlantic's amazing $186 round-trip fare from New York to London. This fare is good for outbound travel during the months of November, January, and February, with lots of restrictions; you have to fly on Mondays, Tuesdays or Wednesdays, a Saturday night stay is required, and you must book online at www.virgin-atlantic.com/promotion.view.do by Sept. 25. There's one restriction missing: the fares are good for trips up to 9 months long, which makes them great for students.
If you've taken a previous roundtrip with Virgin and are a member of their frequent flier program (which pretty much guarantees you have the 5,000 frequent flier miles needed to pull this off), you can get some other attractively low fares from them by calling 888/747-7477. Their 5,000-mile fares to London (roundtrip, not including taxes) include:
- Boston, NY or DC: $299 during Sept. and Oct.; $199 from Nov. 1 to Dec. 17
- Miami or Orlando: $349 during Sept. and Oct.; $299 from Nov. 1 to Dec. 17
- San Francisco or LA: $379 during Sept. and Oct.; $299 from Nov. 1 to Dec. 17
No frequent flier miles? Fly Europe is offering low winter fares for travel between Nov. 1, 2003 and March 31, 2004, except for between Dec. 10 and Jan. 4. Tickets to London are $199 from New York and Boston and $309 from LA and San Francisco. Flights to Paris are $267 from New York and Boston, $369 from LA and SF. They have fares from many other US cities, as well. Buy your tickets by September 30 by calling 800/359-3876.